Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vegan in California!

For Jason & I's 1st anniversary trip, we went to San diego, California. I had never been to California before so I was quite excited! We stayed right on the bay at the Marriot, which was such a beautiful hotel. We had a bay view room with a balcony and the view was simply breathtaking.

The entire trip was wonderful, and included a lot of great vegan friendly establishments!
My favorite was probably Rancho's We went there for brunch our first morning there. We had our ford mustang convertible and drove on over for some food before heading up the coast.
It may have been my favorite mostly because it was only 9 am and it was acceptable to eat chips and salsa.

They had a ton of vegan options as well as meat-eater options so it was a great pick for the both of us.
I ended up choosing the vegan chorizo scrambled tofu plate.

The outdoor seating was super cute as well. We really enjoyed our stay at this restaurant!

After leaving Rancho's, we had plans to drive up the coast and cruise on over to LA. We changed our plans and ended up in Disneyland in Anaheim instead! We had been to disney world twice together, so it was fun to see the differences that disneyland had compared to disney world in orlando. My only dissapointment - the castle was WAY smaller..ahh well. still a great park though!
We tried to get easy/quick breakfasts the other days since we had a lot of plans and things to do during the day. One of my favorites, which I noticed was popular at a lot of coffee shops was the "Acai Bowl". I had one from Lion's coffee one morning.

It was absolutely delicious and was a great way to wake up! Their coffee was delicious, offered soy milk for me, and the acai bowl was delicious. It was basically a frozen/sorbet version of blended acai berries, topped with bananas, strawberries, and vegan granola. Many other coffee shops around San Diego offered a similar bowl as well. I haven't seen these around Philadelphia/suburbs so it was nice to see it so popular!
One of our favorite meals while in San Diego was an ethiopian dinner. We have only had ethiopian once before in washington DC, so we were excited to try it out on our trip to california!
There were a few options, but we decided upon Muzita Bistro

They had a very cute cozy atmosphere and a bunch of vegetarian/vegan options!

Our injera! Ethiopian food is such a unique cuisine that we both really enjoy!
After dinner that night, it was still pretty early (even for us!) and we stopped by The Yard House for a drink to end our evening. Not only did they have a TON of beers on draft (Jason was excited) but they had a whole menu section of Gardein options! (my excitement..wish we weren't so full so we could have tried it!)

So cool! Next time we visit, definitely have to go there for dinner. it's been so exciting seing Gardein popping up all over the place. the other day in the grocery store I saw that Lean Cuisine is offering Vegetarian frozen meals using gardein. what a great way to get vegan "meat" in the hands of people that probably would not try it otherwise!
Regardless, we had a wonderful time in San diego and I truly cannot wait to visit again. We went to the San Diego Zoo, Cornada and went to open houses!, Seaport Village, and enjoyed our time walking around downtown. We both can't believe it's already been a year since the best day of our lives, but here is to many more years!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vegan in Virginia

Last weekend we had our "family trip" to Williamsburg, Virginia. It was great to have a weekend just with the family to enjoy some quality time together. It started out meeting my brother in Richmond, Virginia for the night on Thursday. We all left after work and did not arrive until late but we still had a great time. There were a couple fun hole in the wall pubs nearby the hotel we stayed at in downtown Richmond that were great to grab a couple drinks and chat. One being Empire (totally fit in with the mohawks and studded belts of the other guests!) and also Capital Ale House. For breakfast on Friday morning, I was excited to see how many cafes had vegan brunch options! We settled on Harrison Street Cafe It is located on 402 N Harrison Street, very close to the college campuses there. good eats, no meats! Although not completely vegan - they are all vegetarian. My brother & jason were happy that they had eggs though. I was happy they had a tofu scramble!
I had the tofu scramble over spinach, with tomatoes, salsa and the vegan sausage. Delicious! Pretty sure the sausage was Gimme Lean but it didn't specify on the menu.
A blurry picture of the menu, I would love to go back one day to try the vegan french toast! After leaving Richmond, we met my parents & sister and her boyfriend in Williamsburg. Our plan for the day was to walk around Colonial Williamsburg which we have not done since we were much younger. It was great, and fun to experience since we had not been in so long. After doing some research for food near our hotel for dinner, I found one of the only vegan friendly restaurants, Food For Thought. They are located at 1647 Richmond Road in Williamsburg, which was right down the street from our hotel!
This was a GREAT find! Everyone in our party left saying how great the food was! They serve meat, but have a lot of vegan options (they use Gardein chikn patties!) so it was perfect for my omnivore family and myself to enjoy a great meal together. One of the two appetizers we ordered was the Hummus Plate:
The hummus was delicious and I was glad they offered more options to dip than just pita! My entree:
I chose the Thai One on with the Gardein Chickn Pattie. This was awesome and I was so happy to see a restaurant have the Gardein options available. Any restaurant should have them available, since they are freezable and would appeal to the Vegan/Vegetarian community. The waitress knew exactly what the vegan diet was and ensured me that it would be vegan. We loved Food For Though so much, that we went back the next morning for breakfast!
I had the tofu scramble with whole wheat toaste and fruit cup. This was awesome, maybe even more so than the Harrison Cafe's scramble. They had a great selection of different options and I loved the atmosphere of Food for thought. My entire family really enjoyed going there, and the manager remembered us from the night before and gave us some coupons to use as well. It definitely was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone in the Williamsburg area as a vegan or just a hungry person! After breakfast we were ready to hit up Busch Gardens, where I went on the new roller coaster and lost my voice from screaming SO loud. I do enjoy coasters so much as they do not have a huge drop, the new Verbolten had huge drops the entire time, so I screamed my face off. Other than that, the trip was a great time with my family and showed there ARE vegan options even in Williamsburg!

Monday, May 28, 2012

We interrupt food for..

A cute new pup!!
Jason & I were lucky enough to adopt a little one last Wednesday. We have been having so much fun with little Kovy. He is a yellow lab and a very frisky puppy. We have already had to take him to the local dog "er" on Friday evening, he was constantly getting sick and we didn't know what to do! Apparently he had eaten some random things when we've been taking him out on walks and had a sick tummy from that. Currently, he is much better and back to his biting/fun cute self.
We are trying to teach him about biting/it's not good to do to us and other people and only okay with his toys. If anyone has puppy tips that'd be great!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Waffles Everywhere

In our home, if it is Sunday, it is Waffle Day.

This tradition has happend pretty much ever since I received a waffle maker for Christmas last year. It's great for a lazy Sunday morning and is such an easy make for when we have guests.

For just Jason & I, we are pretty satisfied with my basic waffle recipe with chocolate chips. However, every now and then or if we have guests, I like to mix it up and make it a little fancier.

These are our St. Patty's day Mint chocolate chip waffles.

My basic waffle recipe that I work from is from Fat Free Vegan Blog. I love Susan's recipes and the versatality that almost all of them have. I've been using her recipes for years and she has never let me down!

When it is just Jason & I for breakfast this is the recipe I follow:

Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Waffles (serves 2):
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup almond milk (can subsitite soy or any other dairy free milk)
1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of mint extract
1 Tablespoon agave nectar or sweetner of choice (we used a packet of truvia)
A few drops of green food coloring (if you need was St patricks day so it felt appropriate)
Handful of chocolate chips (use how much you would like..we like a lot.)

Heat up your waffle iron. Mix dry ingredients through salt together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix milk, vinegar, extract, coloring(if using), and sweetener. Add wet to dry and mix. Mix in chocolate chips until just combined. Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray and use about 1/3 c of mix per waffle. Cook until done. Serve!

I've also experimented with Carrot Cake Waffles:

These were perfect around Easter time or really any time!
Add grated carrot to original recipe, substitute the mint extract with vanilla extract, and do not add chocolate chips. This was delicious and I'm sure would be even better with a cream cheese drizzle!

I've also made a Brownie Batter Waffle:

With this, you would substitute the mint extract with vanilla extract and add cocoa powder to the dry mix. These were definitely delicious and we felt like we were eating dessert for breakfast!

I've also made Almond Joy waffles using almond extract instead of vanilla and adding shredded coconut!
Waffles are so versatile and I love coming up with new creations in the morning.They make any morning seem extravagant even when you're sitting in your own living room!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

and I'll never tell you what I saw

Last weekend Jason & I had a late valentine's day dinner at Vedge in Philadelphia.
I had been to Horizons many times before, which was owned by the same owners of Vedge, and was very dissapointed when I heard they were shutting down.
Luckily, my dissapointment was gone after hearing about their new restaurant they were opening up!

Just from going into the restaurant, it had such a warm ambiance and the decor was dimly-lit and very cozy. Already I knew I would love this place.

Since the menu runs a bit "small", our waitress told us that most people would order about 3-4 plates each. We decided on getting two things off of the dirt list to share and each getting something from the larger menu.

The two items from the dirt list (which is the restaurant's daily vegetables) was the Crispy Cauliflower and the Fingerling Potatoes.
The crispy cauliflower had the most AMAZING sauce under it. Seriously, I wanted to lick it off the plate, but figuring it was a romantic dinner I probably shouldn't. :)
Jason agreed, the sauce was this creamy, savoury, amazing-ness that made the cauliflower taste like the best. I even dipped some of the bread they gave us into it. That good.

The fingerling potatoes were also very very delicious. They had a creamy worcestshire sauce that really accented the potatoes. Both were great. We were already huge fans of Vedge after this.

My entree was the Grilled Gochujang Tofu. Don't you just love those grill marks? The tofu was perfectly grilled and has the exact not too mushy, not too rough texture. I always loved the tofu dishes at Horizons so I was very happy to see it on their menu at Vedge. The edamame puree that it came with was delicious as well and added a bit of creamyness to bites of the tofu. The sauce around it is called smoked miso dashi and it had a great salty ness to it that was perfect with the tofu.

As per usual, I'm always loving my entree, until I try a bite of Jason's and wish I had his instead. Luckily, he gave me a couple of bites :) Anyway, he ordered the Grilled Seitan. It came with black lentils and mushrooms, creamy horseradish, and kohlrabi. We both are not fans of mushrooms, but this was the only seitan dish that Vedge had offered that evening so he was willing to try it. Honestly, you could barely even taste the mushrooms and he really enjoyed it.

Of course, you have to have dessert at this place. We have stopped in here about 2 months ago just for an after dinner dessert and drink, but it just made me want to come back even more. Last time, we had tried the Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was phenomenal so we had some high standards for the dessert at Vedge!
We chose this time the Apple Cake Fritters. As well as the ice cream trio that are behind them but not shown.
The three flavors of ice cream we tried were Peanut Butter & Jelly, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Pistachio. All 3 - amazing. Peanut butter & Jelly being my favorite, of course.

As far as the apple cake fritters went, Jason had said he preferred the pudding dessert that we had gotten another time. I love these though, they were like mini fried apple pies, and the salad and cider caramel that it came with was a great touch. Anything with apples in it, I'm usually a fan of.

We had a fabulous evening and we will definitely be back to Vedge, hopefully sooner than later!

Vedge is located at 1221 Locust Street in Philadelphia.
Definitely recommend a reservation, it was quite busy in there! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cupid's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Hope you enjoy it whether with a significant other, family, friends, or showing self-love to yourself, we all deserve it :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

have you ever felt like everybody's watching...

A bit ago Jason & I visited DC again for a weekend. We love having our weekends away every now and then and DC is always a great place to visit! We lucked out with the weather as well and it wasn't too bad!

We arrived on Friday night and went out with my brother since he lives down there. We of course, had to go to RFD which is Jason's favorite place and has a HUGE menu of millions of different beers. It was okay, and loud, but I know Jason likes it. :)

On Saturday we walked all over! I love wandering around different cities and seeing everything they have to offer. We went to the museums and saw the Andy Warhol exhibit which was really awesome.
We also walked over to the Eastern Market which is in the Capitol Hill area of DC. i had never been over there before but there were so many awesome vendors!
Including a PICKLE stand!!

They offered tons of different pickles on a stick that you could get for only $2. We definitely had to try them and they were SO good!

After walking around all day we rested for a bit in the hotel and then ventured out for dinner. I had never had ethiopian food before, and heard that DC had a ton of awesome ethiopian restaurants to check out so I figured it'd be a great place to try it for the first time.

We ended up making a reservation for Etete. They were located on 9th St and not a far walk really from our hotel. Nothing in DC is really thattt far away.

We started out with the Sambusa which was a roll filled with lentils, green peppers, jalapenos, and onions. They were delicious!

I wasn't sure what to really order, so I asked for the vegetarian plate and she ended up putting both of our orders together on the injera.

Sorry for the low lighting! It was very dim in there which I thought made a great atmosphere. I was the girl though, that asked for a fork, even though I know you're supposed to kind of eat it all with the injera in your hands. Ahh well.. I tried! Everything on it was absolutely delicious though!
It had collard greens, cabbage & carrot, split peas, red lentils, and some amazing sauces that tied it all together.
Definitely not the last time I'll be going to an ethiopian restaurant!

On Sunday we met up with my brother again for brunch! I had heard about Sticky Fingers a lot and I knew I had to try it out for myself. They are located at 1370 Park Rd NW.

It was absolutely adorable on the inside and even though small, we were able to find a spot outside to eat our brunch.

I ordered the tuna melt sandwich. Tuna is one of the things I really enjoyed pre-vegan days, so it was great to have a substitute!

Jason & Brian both got the same thing - the breakfast burrito. It was a whole grain tortilla, tofu scramble, black beans, tomato, spinach, and daiya cheese!

yeah, not the juciest of pictures for the burrito, but under all that spinach there was definitely tofu scramble!

We couldn't leave sticky fingers without trying their beautiful desserts!

My brother tried the famous cinnamon roll. It was as big as our heads. At least.

But oh so good. They had a great deal for the cinnamon roll & a cup of coffee together. I would love to live near by and go there for breakfast and eat that - every day. Hah...

Jason & I split the cupcakes..

We chose cookies n' cake cupcake and a peanut butter fudge cupcake, of course. Those are our favorite flavors for anything, I think.
Of course, they did not dissapoint and not a crumb of anything was left!
It was great to catch up with my brother and we both really enjoy going to DC. hopefully one day we can get down there for the cherry blossom fest!

enjoy your weekends & hope the superbowl is fun for everybody whether you care about the football, the food, the commercials, or seeing Madonna perform! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Honeymoon in Jamaica

The day after our wedding, Jason & I flew out to Montego Bay, Jamaica for our week long honeymoon!
I remember waking up that morning SO early but SO excited and ready to be on relaxation mode for a week. Plus we were still in that JUST married wedding high :)

The flight was short, about 3 hours or so, which made it easy to get through. I'm really not a fan of long flights/travel times. Our resort was Secrets St. James and it was absolutely perfect for us! We chose to be in the preferred club and I'm not sure exactly how much of a difference it made because it all looked so great! It was an all inclusive resort, which I think is the best way to go when you truly just want to relax and not worry about anything!

This was the view outside of our porch, might I add a porch with a soaking tub on it :)

The resort was very accomodating to me as a vegan as well.
For breakfasts, I brought a carton of almond breeze with us so if they had cereal i could eat that. Fortunately, they also had soy milk available so I had enough for coffees as well. They had tons of fruit, and my stomach cannot tolerate most melon-y fruits (pineapple, cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon) so I didnt get a chance to enjoy those but their apples & bananas were great.

After breakfast our day usually went straight to the beach!

This was perfection and how we spent most of our days.. ipod, kindle, fruity island drink (the rum punches were SO good), and the beautiful beach! I read the help most of the time I was there, was a great beach read!..although I did tear up at the end :)

For lunches, they had options of cafes being open that were at the pools or the international buffet was also always open for lunch. The buffet was easiest for us since I could find all the vegan things instead of just ordering something and hopeing it was vegan, and Jason could find whatever he wanted as well.

This is what my usual lunch looked like..filled the plate mixed greens, then tons of veggies and toppings! Their black beans & rice were so good and they checked to make sure they were all vegan for me. They also always had salsa everywhere so I was in heaven.

After lunch we'd usually wander around the resort, or go back to the pool or beach. We did do zip lining one day and also snorkeling which was exciting and scary. Apparently I'm very afraid of jelly fish..enough said haha.

For dinner, the resort had six different sit down restaurants to choose from. Each night 4 of them were open, so sometimes a different one was open on certain days than the others, it made it nice to have options.

Our first night we ate at the asian restaurant, called Himitsu. This quickly became our favorite and we ate there 3 out of the 7 nights!

Our appetizer, they had vegan spring rolls! They were so tasty. Also, our waitor was SO entertaining..his name was Alex and he kept us comfortable and made our visit really enjoyable. We even became facebook friends! :)

this was my entree the first night I was there. I was unsure of exactly how vegan everything was but this dish was perfect! It was basically a tofu vegetable stir fry but the sauce on it was very light and flavorful, a perfect first night meal.

The last night of our honeymoon we ate again at Himitsu, and I decided to test them and see what else they could make me.

They made me the sweet and sour chicken but with tofu instead with a ton of veggies. It was so delicious and I was glad they were able to make something special for me.

Another night we tried out the italian restaurant, called Portofino.

Italian food isn't one of my favorite, but this was a good option and Jason really likes italian. We started with a mixed green salad and bruschetta.

As simple as the bruschetta looks, the topping was very flavorful and you could tell it was really fresh!

As for my entree, it wasn't anything fabulous but it worked and Jason really enjoyed his course there so it's all good. They basically gave me a big ol' plate of whole wheat pasta with marinara and a rare vegetable here and there.

They also had a jamaican restaurant, called Blue Mountain, but we did not eat there. It was mostly a seafood place and I thought it might've been hard to find a vegan option.

We did try the mexican restaurant though, called El Patio.

Of course, there was chips and salsa. The resort always had chips and salsa on every buffet bar and was awesome :)

I was a bit dissapointed with the vegan option for the mexican restaurant though.

It was basically a plate of greens, tomatoes, black beans and corn with a sauce glaze. I thought that they could have done better from looking at the menu but it was still a decent option!

We ate at the French restaurant one evening as well, I don't have pictures from it though but it was basically a big plate of grilled vegetables with a side salad.

So even though some restaurants were better than others, they were ALL willing to go out of their way and make some sort of vegan option for me. This was very appreciated and made us so happy to have stayed with this resort!

We had so much fun and it was complete bliss everyday. It felt like we were always looking at a postcard, it was so beautiful.

for our next all inclusive island resort trip, we would definitely stay again with Secrets! They have locations all over the place too! :)